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Ronald Damhof

I have been a BI/DW practitioner for more than 15 years. In the last few years, I have become increasingly annoyed - even frustrated - by the lack of (scientific) rigor in the field of data warehousing and business intelligence. It is not uncommon for the knowledge worker to be disillusioned by the promise of business intelligence and data warehousing because vendors and consulting organizations create their "own" frameworks, definitions, super-duper tools etc.

What the field needs is more connectedness (grounding and objectivity) to the scientific community. The scientific community needs to realize the importance of increasing their level of relevance to the practice of technology.

For the next few years, I have decided to attempt to build a solid bridge between science and technology practitioners. As a dissertation student at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, I hope to discover ways to accomplish this. With this blog I hope to share some of the things I learn in my search and begin discussions on this topic within the international community.

Your feedback is important to me. Please let me know what you think. My email address is

About the author >

Ronald Damhof is an information management practitioner with more than 15 years of international experience in the field.

His areas of focus include:

  1. Data management, including data quality, data governance and data warehousing;
  2. Enterprise architectural principles;
  3. Exploiting data to its maximum potential for decision support.
Ronald is an Information Quality Certified Professional (International Association for Information and Data Quality one of the first 20 to pass this prestigious exam), Certified Data Vault Grandmaster (only person in the world to have this level of certification), and a Certified Scrum Master. He is a strong advocate of agile and lean principles and practices (e.g., Scrum). You can reach him at +31 6 269 671 84, through his website at or via email at

In the 'Neverland' of decision support, Business Intelligence has completely taken over all attractions.

Let's name a few; BI, Neuro BI, Ambient BI, Sentient BI, Process driven BI, process Intelligence, Pervasive BI, BI 2.0, BI as a Service, BI for SOA, SOA for BI, Mobile BI, google BI, Personal BI, BI-Tools-where-you-do-not-need-a-DWH-and-ETL-Buy-it-now, Mashups-the-new-BI-Desktop (oh my god), BI-in-the-box,Business Analytics,BI-in-the-cloud (love this one!), BI-virtualization, Agile-BI,Operational-BI,Decision Intelligence, Decision Management, Even driven analytics, Complex Event Processing, BAM, Collabarative Decision Making......

Do not get me wrong; I certainly do not dismiss them all.....just most of them :)

Most of these 'attractions' are highly sponsored, look super-dooper on the outside and if you won't sit in them you will loose out big time (so they say). However, when you finally decide to ride them you feel that they are not that stable, not really safe and there is hardly any enjoyment when you exit them (but you can tell you neighbour you dared to ride it!). To put it in other words, not really grounded in theory and the relevance for practice is extermely hard to find.

There are however some attractions in this Decision Support 'Neverland' that are very much dusty, spiderwebs all over the place, but the attraction is still extremely solid and if we would overhaul it with new architectural insights and technology, it could be a smash-hit. These attractions are named DSS, EIS, ESS.... 

I feel that we - as an industry - failed miserably in continuing on the path that was made for us by people like John Dearden, John Rockart, David Delong, Ralph Sprague, Hugh Watson, Steven Alter, Daft and Lengel, Peter Keen, Michael Scott Morton, Herbert Simon, Henry Mintzberg and many more.

Dan Power is one of those brave souls who is standing with the ticketbox - selling tickets for his 'attraction'. I recommend people to read his last written article as well as the blog post written by Wouter van Aerle.

Finally, I wanna contribute to the Decision Support 'Neverland': BI goes Retro

Posted June 30, 2009 6:54 AM
Permalink | 1 Comment |

1 Comment

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